Wanda knows a few words. Actually, I’m sure she knows lots of words but she only knows a few words that we can understand – "Mom", "Dad", "baby", "shoes", "thank you". But today my fine-tuned Mommy Hearing picked up another one – "again." It sounds sort of like she’s saying, “Uhmshmum,” with a mouth full of shnuli, but I’m pretty sure she means “again.”
She was curled up on my lap with a board book, turning the pages for me and listening intently as I read. Each time I would finish reading and say, “The end,” she would mumble, “Uhmshmum,” and lightly nod her head, handing me back the book. I would start the process again.
This went on for about half an hour. I think I read the same story ten or fifteen times before she climbed down from my lap and picked a new one. Each of my kids has gone through a phase where they enjoyed the comfort of hearing the same words read over and over again, the fun of knowing which picture would come next.
With Laylee it was Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. Magoo liked The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown and Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman. Right now Wanda's into a simple nursery rhyme book and Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.
We’re a family of readers. Magoo’s not fully on the literacy train yet but he’s standing in line for a ticket. Yesterday Dan’s Valentine’s Day present came in the mail and Magoo wanted to know what it was called. I told him I could not tell him what it was called because it was a surprise, I could not tell him what it was called because it was a surprise, I could not tell him what it was called because it was a surprise, all the while running my finger underneath the letters of the title. After about the fifth time, he shouted the title out loud.
“OH NO!” I moaned, “Now we can’t have any more secrets from you because you’ll be able to read everything!” His face was bursting with pride.
I’m hoping that tricks like this, combined with all the reading we’ve done together, will help him develop a love of reading too. It worked for Laylee. Dan and I both love to read and Wanda looks like she’s on her way.
So I say read those books again and again, even if you’re sick of them. If they’re asking, just keep reading. Now, if I’m somehow able to convince Wanda to branch out, which picture books would you suggest? What books do your kids love reading over and over again?